From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:34am caleb
Focusing on business facade updates
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
As you may recall, the general mission of the Grayling Main Street (GMSt) program is to build our economy and preserve our historic integrity. The program strives to create a sense of place that holds true to the authenticity of this community, but also embraces changes in society, to keep us relevant. Not all of these efforts are regularly visible, and that is kind of the point of this column, to shine light on the somewhat hidden areas of the program.
In recent weeks, we have not been able to shine much light on anything specific, as many of our projects tend to slow in the excitement of the annual River Festival and AuSable River Canoe Marathon. That does not mean we are not working, it just means our community is focused on other important aspects. We don’t mind sharing Grayling’s resources with other amazing events and organizations, including ourselves as resources.
Now that we are refocused on downtown projects, I have some exciting news to share with you. We have been working with property owners to change the look of downtown. We have also called in some extra help to boost the impact of the projects on the table.
Many of you probably notice the flowers from year to year, and possibly the new banners this summer. We are grateful to partner with Grayling Promotional Association (GPA) each year to make our community bright and beautiful with fresh flowers every spring. This year, following the branding services, the GMSt Design Committee replaced the Downtown Grayling banners, to incorporate our new destination logo. We are now taking it a step further and focusing on business façade updates.
One of the services we are awarded as a Main Street community is Design Services from Michigan Main Street (MMS). This includes a consultation with a staff architect, scaled renderings, recommendations for design aspects include colors and signage, and a maintenance schedule. This year we had four applicants for these services. Our local Design Committee meets this week to finalize the applications and submit them to MMS for processing. These services alleviate not only a financial burden for the property owner, but also provide them with renderings and material recommendations that are pre-approved by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). That approval is vital for the next step of the façade facelift, grant application.
In addition to engaging with MMS and utilizing Main Street benefits, we also have an ongoing relationship with Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to leverage financial incentives and mitigate the expense of redevelopment and rehabilitation for property owners.
MEDC is very active in our community, and we are looking to heighten their involvement in downtown by initiating a Façade Grant Package with several businesses. We are just getting started with this laborious process, but the work will be well worth it in the end. Recent MEDC Façade Grant Packages include projects at Ray’s and Bear’s Den.
Want to know more about GMSt and what is going on in Downtown Grayling? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.